American talk show host Jimmy Fallon has apologised after a clip that showed him wearing blackface in a Saturday Night Live sketch went viral yesterday.
The comedian claimed there was “no excuse” for his actions in the video, which showed him impersonating former Saturday Night Live cast member Chris Rock in a skit from 2000.
The resurfacing of the clip saw hundreds of social media users denounce Fallon using the hashtag #JimmyFallonIsOverParty, with some calling for him to step down from his popular NBC talk show.
In a statement on Twitter, Fallon wrote, “In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface.
“There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
Fallon is far from the only figure to have been criticised for wearing blackface, and in the wake of this controversy several social media users pointed to similar instances involving the likes of Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel, while other prominent African Americans including Sammy Davis Jr and Barack Obama have previously been portrayed by white actors on SNL.
Fallon was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2004, while Chris Rock had appeared on the show from 1990 to 1993.
Neither NBC nor Chris Rock have made any comments about the sketch.